Get Pumped for Pumpkins
It’s officially fall time, and you know what that means: pumpkin flavored everything. For some people, this might mean enjoying a slice of pumpkin pie or heading to the closest Starbucks for a pumpkin spiced latte to celebrate the season. Although pumpkin flavored goodies are often seen as an indulgence (the aforementioned latte contains 380 calories and 50 grams of sugar), keep in mind that pumpkin does not always have to be a splurge. If you’re looking to stay on track with your health this season, pumpkins can help with that too! These hearty vegetables (though biologically a fruit) are rich in fiber and vitamin A, and are an effective way to boost immunity when flu season comes around. As an alternative to buying pumpkin-flavored desserts, healthy pumpkin options can easily be made at home. For example, pumpkin puree can be added to pancake batter, oatmeal, smoothies, or even your favorite chili recipe. Also, don’t forget about the seeds! Toasted pumpkin seeds are a healthy and portable snack to have on hand and are a good source of protein and fiber. To prepare, rinse the seeds to remove pumpkin pulp and strings, spread them onto a baking sheet, and drizzle with a small amount of oil. Bake at 325 degree for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add seasonings you may have on hand, such as garlic powder or Cajun seasonings. Get into the pumpkin craze this season without the splurge and embrace the full power of this amazing food.
By Whitney Martin, Master of Public Health Student at Liberty University
Intern for Bon Secours Physical Therapy and Sports Performance
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